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Private medicine, any experiences ?

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Groundhog
Groundhog Community member Posts: 15 Courageous
Hi all,
8 years ago I had surgery in a private hospital. It was a fairly routine abdominal op and I had BUPA through my job. I had catastrophic complications leaving me with 3 stoma bags. I had to be transferred to another hospital in the dead of night where I remained for 6 months being vein fed told I may never eat or drink normally again.  I’m not saying it was the fault of the private hospital but was devastated to discover if you have terrible complications they have no responsibility as all the surgeons are self employed.  My story is very long and eight years on I haven’t recovered, still have the bags but can eat now thankfully.  I feel so let down by the system as there are no advocacy services or anything if you are private.  I never knew this and think the private hospitals should make patients aware of this.  I never complained as I was told my condition was temporary and I’d heal, by the time I realised the truth it was too late.  No enquiries in private hospitals, they seem a law unto themselves.  
Just want to share my story really.  I’m afraid of growing old with these bags, I no longer work and i my marriage has folded. What happened to me was very rare, but rare doesn’t mean never, people assume private is better than nhs, it’s not.  The only correspondence I had from them was a bill.  

Comments

  • Sandy_123
    Sandy_123 Scope Member Posts: 55,554 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hi @Groundhog that sounds awful have you considered talking to a no win no fee  solicitor for medical mistakes
  • Groundhog
    Groundhog Community member Posts: 15 Courageous
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    Thanks Sandy. It’s a long story but two Years after the hysterectomy they tried to repair it and it failed again, I nearly died of respiratory failure and sepsis. In hospital months again and left still poorly.  I didn’t have the strength to challenge anyone then i had serious psychological problems , diagnosed with PTSD. I was misled and lied to still believed I’d recover. I’m not naive but I never realised this was even possible - the condition inhave is an enterocutaneous fistula, it’s rare.  The upshot was by the time I looked into complaining or litigation I was out of time , you have three years and no one would take me on.  I’m not sure anyone was negligent but the outcome for me was the same.  I hate the bags and I hate being me but most of all I feel very let down by a system that’s so unfair if you end up like me. Sorry pity party for one lol. 
    All I wanted was for someone to listen and say what happened was awful and we are sorry but no one will speak to me even. 
    Thanks for listening. 
  • Sandy_123
    Sandy_123 Scope Member Posts: 55,554 Disability Gamechanger
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    I think it's awful I'm presuming you've seen someone on NHS  about your conditions 
  • Groundhog
    Groundhog Community member Posts: 15 Courageous
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    It’s complicated and it all honesty nothing can be done as it’s now too dangerous to fix. I did have a massive bleed last year and nhs were fab.  I didn’t go private because I think they are better, my mother was brain damaged I was her carer, I needed the hysterectomy quickly so I went through BUPA.  What no one realises if it all goes awfully wrong they don’t want to know.  There’s no PALS, or even an ombudsman it’s shocking but because it’s so rare no one cares .

  • woodbine
    woodbine Community member Posts: 12,096 Disability Gamechanger
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    I'm currently having cataracts done at a private eye clinic paid for by the NHS first was done early Dec second will be done end March, if I was waiting to have it done at the local NHS hospital I would be lucky if the first one was done by the end of this year.
    I really can't fault the clinic and understand that were I paying it would be around £2,500 per eye.

    2024 Election won

  • Groundhog
    Groundhog Community member Posts: 15 Courageous
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    Yes woodbine I’m sure that’s the case,  it’s when things go wrong that the problems start.  If you are a nhs patient and yiu have the level of injury I had they have to follow set procedures but in the private sector it doesn’t work like that.
    I bet you’ll be glad to get this surgery done, wishing you well
  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Community member Posts: 16,154 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hi @Groundhog - you've definitely had an awful experience with ongoing problems. As you've found, whether this involves a private hospital or a NHS one, then to raise a complaint about medical negligence you only have 3 years from the onset of any problem(s) to do this. It can also be difficult to prove whether it's against an individual or a hospital. I helped a friend win his case having got involved a few weeks before his 3 years ran out. The medical expert his solicitors had employed could find no fault; I found fault using one of this expert's published papers!
    There's both good & bad in private or NHS hospitals, &, to the best of my knowledge some health care professionals can work in both. I believe there's also a complaints procedure you can go through with a private hospital, & there's also the Care Quality Commission who look into both the private & NHS sector. That said, it's too late now to claim, & nothing can compensate you for what you now suffer.
    It's a horrible feeling when you have been either misled or lied to; I went through this in trying to find out about our family's problems. I met both wonderful Drs & was also lied to by one prominent Dr (which I could prove), which is why I say there's both good & bad in either sector.
  • Groundhog
    Groundhog Community member Posts: 15 Courageous
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    Yes it’s a very difficult road to navigate thts for sure. I had a difficult surgical background too so it’s not like I went in healthy, I probably was an accident waiting to happen. I just feel there should be set procedures in place if someone suffers life changing complications - an enquiry, an advocate maybe but in the independent sector there is nothing.  
    I’m trying to move on but every so often, usually when I’m having problems, the anger demon gets back on board,  I don’t want to be the victim , I want to overcome this and some days I do, somedays I don’t .
    thanks for your comment 
  • Hannah_Alumni
    Hannah_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,912 Disability Gamechanger
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    Oh @Groundhog I'm so sorry that you have been through all that. I have IBD and have an ileostomy myself so I know the positives and negatives that can come with having a stoma. 

    I wanted to comment because you mentioned being afraid to grow old with your bags, no longer working and your marriage had folded and I wanted to try my best to help you love them. It's strange to say I know.

    I feel there is a lot of stigma around stoma bags and a lot of people don't realise how you can come to have one or that they save lives. And they do! People live long and happy lives with them. I didn't think I'd work and here I am working for Scope.

    With your marriage, the thing I always go to is, what if this happened in a complete other way? So I had my stoma due to IBD but when in the hospital I met someone who had one due to endometriosis and another person was in a car accident and impaled. They had to have a lot of their bowel removed and a stoma was formed.(They were actually in hospital for J-Pouch surgery, with what they had left of the bowel, they could get that done. Is that something that you are able to look at as an option?).

    It always reminds me that with wanting to be in a couple, not only could anything happen that changes my life, but the same could be for theirs. If they are not prepared for an eventuality like that, then are they worth it?

    It can be tough, and I'm always here if you need to vent or just want to have a natter <3
    Hannah - She / Her

    Online Community Coordinator @ Scope

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  • Groundhog
    Groundhog Community member Posts: 15 Courageous
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    Hi Hannah thank you for your thoughtful reply.  I should explain I’ve had my stoma for 40 years and it’s not a problem.  The fistula is a different story.  It happened as a complication to surgery and is an awful thing to live with.  It’s not manageable like a stoma and as it’s alien it makes me ill with other conditions.  When it happened I had sepsis and nearly died and was then told I’d never eat or drink again, it’s changed me and I’m a nervous person now.  I have been married 42 years and we struggle with the restrictions.
    Fortunately I can eat and drink now but I can’t seem to move on from the trauma and that’s what my husband struggles with.
    thanks for your comment 
  • durhamjaide2001
    durhamjaide2001 Community Co-Production Group, Scope Member Posts: 11,210 Disability Gamechanger
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    My sister had private medical care for her ear but she was a child so it will be easier for you as I'm presuming it's for someone over 18 is it? 
  • Hannah_Alumni
    Hannah_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,912 Disability Gamechanger
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    Groundhog said:
    Hi Hannah thank you for your thoughtful reply.  I should explain I’ve had my stoma for 40 years and it’s not a problem.  The fistula is a different story.  It happened as a complication to surgery and is an awful thing to live with.  It’s not manageable like a stoma and as it’s alien it makes me ill with other conditions.  When it happened I had sepsis and nearly died and was then told I’d never eat or drink again, it’s changed me and I’m a nervous person now.  I have been married 42 years and we struggle with the restrictions.
    Fortunately I can eat and drink now but I can’t seem to move on from the trauma and that’s what my husband struggles with.
    thanks for your comment 
    That's good, that it isn't a problem, I met one guy who had his ten years and could change a bag in the dark  :D

    I'm so sorry you are having such issues with the fistula(s). I know I may be going over something you have already, but I wondered if you have you ever thought about referring yourself for counselling

    I'd also love to know, with my curious mind, 40 years?! have you found stoma supplies have come a long way? 
    Hannah - She / Her

    Online Community Coordinator @ Scope

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